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Howard Webb Seals Surprise Transfer To MLS Ahead Of Video Ref Introduction

Gavan Casey
By Gavan Casey
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Just over a month after World Referee of the Year Mark Clattenburg issued a come-and-get-me plea to the Chinese Super League, his predecessor - former top, top referee Howard Webb - has gone one further.

America's Professional Referee Organization announced today that it has hired BT pundit Webb as the head of its video assistant referee operations for the new season.

Webb will “oversee the development and education, assessment, and assignment of video assistant referees for PRO,” said a statement from the organisation.


MLS previously announced that it will test the use of video assistant refs during select preseason games this season. The system made its debut earlier this month in Arizona, in a game between Real Salt Lake and the San Jose Earthquakes. The system will also be tested during the MLS season proper, but 'in private', i.e. it won't have an impact on the actual games being played.

According to MLSSoccer.com, the VAR system will only be utilized in four types of 'game-changing' scenarios: goals, penalties, red cards and mistaken identity.

In a statement about his new gig, Webb said:

I’m delighted to join the Professional Referee Organization for this new challenge and contribute to the implementation of what I view as a crucial development for the sport. I have tremendous respect for the organization that Peter Walton has created and am excited to be on board for the continued development of this initiative.

Unfortunately, the move means we'll likely no longer see Webb loom over the entire BT studio resembling a Cartoon Network villain on that enormous screen, but at least he'll be free of that weird, dark cave they've been hiding him in for the past couple of seasons.

[Four Four Two USA]

SEE ALSO: Howard Webb Recalls The Decision That Saw Him Receive "Thousands Of Death Threats"



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